If your dog has been experiencing symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, vomiting, a chronic infection, or lab work that has come back abnormal, your veterinarian might recommend an ultrasound. While the test might sound simple enough, there are some important things you'll need to do when preparing your dog for a veterinary ultrasound.
Don't Let Your Dog Eat Anything
It's important for your dog's stomach to be empty during an ultrasound. This will enable the veterinarian or technician to see your pet's organs better during this noninvasive test. While it's totally fine to give your dog water, they should abstain from eating solid foods before the test. Some veterinarians recommend your dog fast for only a couple of hours before the test while others recommend not having your dog eat after a certain time at night. It's best to ask your veterinarian how long your dog should go without food before the ultrasound.
Keep Your Dog's Bladder Full
If your dog is having an ultrasound of the kidney or bladder, a full bladder can help to see these organs better. If you're not sure which organs your veterinarian is going to need to see during the ultrasound, it's best to ask. If it is the kidney or bladder, your vet will most likely recommend that your dog not empty the bladder prior to the test.
Shaving Your Dog's Fur
During an ultrasound, a transducer is used for transmitting sound waves and receiving echoing waves. The inaudible sound wave sends a picture to a screen, and that is how the organs are seen. When a veterinary ultrasound machine is used, fur can interfere with this process, which means your dog will most likely have to be shaved before the test. This is usually done at the vet's office, so it's not something you will have to do at home beforehand.
Getting Your Dog Sedated
Since a veterinary ultrasound is painless and noninvasive, most dogs don't have to be sedated before this simple test. If, however, your dog does experience anxiety in new or unfamiliar situations, or they simply won't stay still for the procedure, your veterinarian might recommend sedation. The only other reason your dog would need to be sedated for the procedure, is if your pet is experiencing a lot of pain where the transducer needs to be pressed into the skin.
By following these suggestions, along with your veterinarian's recommendations, the ultrasound will go smoothly and quickly. Most importantly, a proper diagnosis can be made to help alleviate your dog's symptoms.